DALLAS — Dallas County Health and Human Services on Friday reported a county resident has been diagnosed with monkeypox, a disease that spread from pet prairie dogs to humans in Africa.
According to the health agency the patient arrived at Dallas Love Field airport from Nigeria on July 9.
The patient is currently hospitalized and has been stabilized, health officials said. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with airline officials as well as state and local health officials to track down passengers who may have come into contact with the patient.
Travelers on the July 9 flight were required to wear masks due to ongoing COVID-19 regulations. Health officials said that it’s believed the presence of masks mitigated the risk of monkeypox being spread via air droplets.
“While rare, this case is not a reason for alarm and we do not expect any threat to the general public. Dallas County Health and Human Services is working closely with local providers, as well as our state and federal partners,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
People who don’t have symptoms are not capable of spreading the disease, health officials said.
“We have been working closely with the CDC and DSHS and have conducted interviews with the patient and close contacts that were exposed,” said DCHHS Director Dr. Philip Huang. “We have determined that there is very little risk to the general public. This is another demonstration of the importance of maintaining a strong public health infrastructure, as we are only a plane ride away from any global infectious disease.”
The CDC defines monkeypox as a rare disease that is caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. The first human case was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. There was a small outbreak in 2003 in the U.S. Forty-seven U.S. residents were infected. This is believed to be the first infection of a Texas resident.